Startup Weekend Cornell

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Sage Hall



Startup Weekend comes to Cornell University! Kickoff Reception presented by the New York City Economic Development Corporation on September 28th at 6:00pm

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur? The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups.



Sep 28
  • NYCEDC Panel Discussion
  • Dinner & Networking Reception
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Time to Pitch!
  • Top Ideas are selected
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Sep 29
  • Brunch is served!
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner is served!
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • You may stay and work as late as you want!
  • Midnight Snack!


Sep 30
  • Brunch is served... again.
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Dinner
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home (and do homework!)

New York City Economic Development Corporation

The NYCEDC will be bringing a selection of their portfolio companies to work with teams throughout the weekend as judges and coaches.

Rhett L. Weiss

Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate

Rhett is Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute at Cornell’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. A member of Cornell’s faculty, Rhett’s areas include entrepreneurship, venture capital, and negotiations. He also serves as faculty advisor to BR Venture Fund, Cornell’s early stage venture fund.

For more than 25 years, Rhett has held successful leadership and management roles. He has served as a bank COO, directed a consulting practice at a Big 4 firm, practiced law at a major international law firm, and holds a software and business method patent. During his career, he has been involved in over $30 Billion of transactions, including over $700 Million in early and growth stage business investments, and dozens of entrepreneurial ventures and innovation initiatives. Rhett currently is a co-founder or board member of several startups. He also serves as chairman and CEO of DEALTEK, Ltd., which he founded in 1999.

From 2005 to 2010, Rhett served as senior team leader - strategic development for Google Inc. He was chief designer and negotiator of several large strategic acquisition and development projects for Google’s global infrastructure, typically involving its legendary data centers. Rhett also created and conducted negotiation training workshops in Google’s offices globally.

Rhett is a frequent presenter and writer on negotiations, entrepreneurship, venture capital, and economic development. He holds a B.S. in Management with Honorsfrom Tulane University, a J.D. from the College of William & Mary, and an MBA-level Executive Certificate in International Business from Georgetown University. He also has held board chairman and other leadership positions at professional, educational, and civic organizations.

Tim Novikoff

CEO, Vantageous

Tim Novikoff is the CEO of Vantageous Inc. He recently completed work on his PhD in applied math at Cornell with a dissertation on algorithmic education theory. He is currently teaching a course on iPhone app development in Cornell's CS department. He is a published author on the subject of iPhone user-interface design, and his writing on the college experience has appeared on the New York Times Op-Ed page. Prior to Vantageous he was the founder of Flash of Genius LLC, a publisher of educational iPhone and Android apps. Prior to graduate school he taught math at Stuyvesant High School, where he was elected faculty graduation speaker by the Class of 2007. Before that he was a working actor in NYC, where he provided voices for MTV's Daria.

Michael Beller

Managing Partner, Lightship Partners

Michael Beller is a technology investor, consultant, and executive. Michael is currently Managing Partner of the consulting firm Lightship Partners which he founded in 2001. Michael also co-founded EvoSpend and Diamond Technology Partners where he helped lead the company to a successful IPO. Michael has assisted numerous private equity firms with their portfolio companies as a consultant and executive which have included CIO and COO roles in technology, retail, and pharmaceutical companies. Michael currently participates in numerous NY area angel investor networks including ARC Angel Fund, Long Island Angel Network, and the Tri State Private Investors Network. Michael graduated from Cornell University College of Engineering with a B.S. in Operations Research and Industrial Engineering.


Gavi Wolf

CEO, IndieWalls

Gavi is the CEO and Founder of IndieWalls. He was driven to create IndieWalls after spending many late nights in local venues with empty, artless walls. As leader and creator of IndieWalls, his job is to represent all facets of the IndieWalls mission to the world and oversee all functions within the company. While attaining a dual degree at Cornell, Gavi studied natural resources, management, and applied economics, and gained extensive experience as a bio-fuels researcher. In his spare time he enjoys travel, having backpacked the Appalachian Trail, Alaska, Greece, and The Amazon. Today, Gavi’s passion is to inspire communities with the wealth of expression that local artists and venues have to offer.

Don Ellis

Director of Technical Planning,

Don Ellis’s innovative businesses and entrepreneurial adventures include solar energy projects, sustainable community planning, graphical and business software development, and many early Internet technology projects.

He leads development of the Entrepreneur Program at GORGES Software in Ithaca, New York, where he is presently involved in two start-ups that focus on mobile apps, one start-up dealing with distance learning, and another that combines remote sensory devices, RFID, electric field sensor technology, and much software to usefully record human activity in a space.

Don is skilled in finding direction in the sketchy communication that typifies startup activity and guiding it toward usefulness without damping the innovative spirit that may continue to add special value to all phases of an enterprise.

Don has several degrees including Bachelor of Architecture, summa cum laude, Syracuse University and Master of Architecture, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Has written for technical journals and magazines, and led large-scale community planning activities.

Matthew Clark


Matthew Clark is co-founder and Chief Technology Officer for GORGES Software in Ithaca, New York. Matt's duties include architecting hardware and software solutions, making technology decisions, managing and supporting project development, and hands-on programming.
Matt has been programming computers since high school, and has worked in the software industry for over 25 years. After beginning his career at the David Sarnoff Research Center working for RCA and General Electric, Matt has worked for several startup companies in New York City and Montreal, and consulted for AutoDesk, SPSS, and Data Description prior to founding GORGES.
Much of Matt’s current work directs and builds innovative systems for entrepreneurs. Matt received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering graduating summa cum laude from Princeton University, and has a Masters of Science in Engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).

Elisa Miller-Out

CEO, Singlebrook Technology

Elisa has been CEO of Singlebrook Technology for the last six years. Singlebrook Technology is a web and mobile development company based in Ithaca, NY that specializes in custom web application development, mobile apps, integration, databases, content management systems and design. The company is also developing some new web and mobile products through the Singlebrook Lab program. Singlebrook is a certified B Corp and NYS Benefit Corp and has a strong emphasis on social and environmental responsibility. The company’s mission is “Technology for Change” and Singlebrook is constantly finding innovative ways to use web and mobile technology to drive positive social and environmental impact. Clients include the American Chiropractic Association, College and University Professional Association for Human Resources, Mission Markets, RSF Social Finance, Earthcolor, CSRwire, Social Venture Network and Cornell University. Elisa is the winner of the 2011 B Corp Supply Chain Award, the 2010 B Corp Policy Champion Award and the 2011 NYSAE New Star Synergy Award. She has been featured in articles in the New York Times, Forbes, Mashable, The Washington Post, USA Today and many other publications. She’s spoken about entrepreneurship and technology at several events including TechWeek, the We Live NY Summit at Cornell University and the NYSAE Technology Institute. Prior to founding Singlebrook, Elisa founded two other companies and worked in a variety of industries in New York City, including invention & product development, theater, film & commercial production, event planning, pharmaceuticals and finance. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Barnard College of Columbia University. When she’s not working at Singlebrook, Elisa enjoys cooking with local foods, fitness, swimming in waterfalls, reading and playing Suzuki cello with her two daughters. She also volunteers as a technology sponsor for her BALLE chapter: Local First Ithaca, as President of the Barnard Club of the Finger Lakes, and as a Co-Founder of the Ithaca Venture Community. Elisa serves on the Council of Innovation Advisors for ConvergeUS and is a Strategic Advisor for CSRwire.

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